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February 15, 2008
 
In 2006, the Board received a report and recommendations to enhance our approach to address domestic violence in Mecklenburg County. One of these recommendations resulted in a partnership that provides hotel rooms as emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. This Hotel Partnership has exceeded use projections in its first six months, and continues to show increased need for this short-term solution until a new shelter is built. Initial service projections for the first year of the Hotel Partnership were for 30 families and/or 90 individuals. After six months, those numbers are at 44 families, for a total of 112 victims and children.
 
Hotel Partnership is the service provided by Mecklenburg County Community Support Services Women's Commission Division (CSS/WOC) and United Family Services (UFS).Services are coordinated through UFS, which provides for the cost of food, motel and transportation expenses. CSS provides crisis planning, case management and on-going counseling to help victims and families develop safety plans. The increased demand for this service is outpacing the staff resources. As a result, consideration is being made to increase the partnership's staff resource from a part-time to a full-time social worker.
 
This past fiscal year, UFS received $60,840 as part of the Board's funding. Before the partnership, UFS could not offer service to clients when the shelter was full. Now, in addition to the 112 people mentioned above, the partnership makes it possible to serve male victims, and victims with dependent disabled adult children, too.
 
Prior to the partnership, there was duplication in outreach, public awareness and prevention efforts. Now staff resources are being used more effectively to meet the community's needs, and there is no lack of coordination in services and strong referrals.
 
UFS anticipates a multimillion dollar campaign to begin in 2008 to build a larger, more extensive emergency and transitional shelter for battered women. The proposed domestic violence transitional living center will be located on five acres in central Mecklenburg County. With 80 beds instead of the current 29 available, the self-contained campus will offer short- and long-term transitional housing.
 
A long-term goal is for a smaller, satellite facility to be built in northern Mecklenburg County, providing an additional 40 beds. If the satellite facility is built, the total 120 beds will make Charlotte-Mecklenburg comparable to other cities and counties of similar size.
 
Below are other notable accomplishments of CSS and its community domestic violence partners to address the priorities, gaps, key needs and services identified in the report:
  • Created a Domestic Violence Data Collection Team to discuss and identify local statistics, outcome measures and electronic systems used to collect domestic violence related data.
  • Formed the UFS/CSS Domestic Violence Speakers Bureau to provide resources and training to agencies, organizations, companies, civic groups, schools and the faith community to heighten public awareness and intolerance for domestic violence.
  • Increased community involvement and leadership by creating the Domestic Violence Community Leadership Team (DVCLT), whose charge is to focus on increased community leader involvement, and strategies for prevention and early intervention.
 
For more information, please contact Marie White, CSS/Women's Commission Director, at (704) 336-8814 or email.
 
In August 2006, the Board approved a fleet replacement plan following a fleet right-sizing study. One of the goals of the plan is to reduce the average age of the County's fleet. The Board also directed staff to consider purchasing hybrid vehicles as replacements for older vehicles, consistent with the Board's environmental stewardship policy. As fuel prices rise, fuel efficiency becomes a major factor in determining the most cost effective and environmentally prudent vehicle replacement approach.
 
Some people might assume hybrid vehicles are the most cost-effective choice for building a green fleet. However, because of the higher purchase price for the hybrid, this is not always true. Recent analysis shows that the most important factor in developing a cost-effective green fleet is to sustain the fleet replacement plan to take as many older vehicles off the road as possible. Because combustion vehicles cost less than hybrids, purchasing more new combustion vehicles allows us to remove older, higher polluting and less fuel-efficient vehicles more quickly. The tables below compare a new hybrid vehicle, a new combustion vehicle, and an older vehicle (2000) replaced by the new purchase.

 

If the County has approximately $25,000 to spend, there are two options:
  • Option 1 – Purchase one Hybrid Civic and retire one Chevy Cavalier. The cost would be $22,600.The environmental impact would be 40.67 pounds of ozone forming pollution eliminated per year, 4.34 tons of greenhouse gases eliminated per year, and $1,071 in fuel costs saved per year.
  • Option 2 – Purchase two Ford Focuses and retire two Cavaliers. The cost would be $28,150.The environmental impact would be 80.7 pounds of ozone forming pollution eliminated per year, 4.34 tons of greenhouse gasses eliminated per year, and $1,070 in fuel cost saved per year.
If the vehicles being retired are older than the 2000 Cavalier used in this example, the pollution benefits of option 2 will increase.
 
This example illustrates the importance of fleet replacement, particularly when the fleet includes numerous older vehicles. Therefore, with an older fleet, it is sometimes more cost effective to reduce air pollution by purchasing a greater number of newer cars rather than purchasing a smaller number of hybrids. This strategy allows for fleet improvement, decreased air pollution, and increased fuel efficiency.
 
The Board's approval and funding of this plan has made a significant impact in reducing ozone forming pollution by our fleet (see chart below). Currently, our current fleet contains 20 hybrid vehicles. We will continue to evaluate and recommend purchasing hybrids when appropriate, as a component of our overall fleet replacement plan.
- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager
 
 
 


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